A new year and a new you! Sound familiar? There is so much pressure to make New Year’s resolutions and big changes in our lives, and most of the time we set ourselves up for failure. Maybe you want to quit smoking or learn a new language this year. Odds are, like most people, you want to lose weight and get in great shape. And like most people you want to reach that goal as fast as possible so you go on a “Crash Diet” and/or start an extreme workout regimen.
Statistics show that approximately 40% of “resoluters” throw in the towel by the end of January. Why is that? Chances are it is because you ask too much of yourself too soon. Rather then saying I want to lose 30lbs, which would be a great long-term goal, try to commit to specific short-term goals such as losing 4 pounds this month. This is realistic, and doesn’t require tremendous amounts of immediate change. Not to mention, achieving your short-term goals will keep you encouraged and motivated. Imagine you were to lose 4lbs a month, gradually increasing your workout intensity and continuously improving your diet over time. You could lose 30lbs in less than 8 months, and by doing so; you would be creating new, healthier habits that will become a permanent lifestyle instead of a crash course. Now doesn’t that sound better then failure?
We all know change isn’t easy though and old habits die-hard. So here are some tips to help you permanently change your lifestyle for the better.
Start from the Finish. Set realistic goals by thinking about what you want to achieve by the end of the year and tracking backwards. Example, if you wanted to lose 36lbs that means you only need to lose 3lbs a month to reach your long-term goal. This makes the process much less daunting and keeps you on track rather than discouraging you.
Replace the Bad Habits. Choose your worst habit at the beginning of each month and try to replace the bad habit with something good. Maybe you drink soda multiple times a day; try and replace the soda with your favorite tea. (Fresh tea; not processed tea with added sugar.) Or maybe you snack on chips late at night; try and replace it with carrots, frozen grapes or some other crunchy produce.
Think Outside the Box. Often time’s people are tricked to think some processed food is good for them because it is labeled “Fat-Free” or “All Natural”. Don’t let the buzzwords fool you. Eat foods that come directly from nature and avoid SUGAR, SIMPLE CARBS and SALT. Note, you cannot out-train a bad diet.
Keep it Simple. Workouts don’t have to be complicated. Start by walking more, use the stairs and slowly incorporate more exercise each week. Begin with a couple of 30min training sessions and build up to a minimum of three 60min sessions a week. A body in motion stays in motion. Remember that any improvement, no matter how small, is going to have a positive impact on your health.
Know the Fundamentals. Learn more about your needs and how to perform basic exercises correctly: Squats, Push-ups, Rows, Planks, etc. Understanding how to move properly will help you engage the right muscles during exercises as well as avoid getting injured. If a local personal trainer offers an affordable or free fitness consultation, take advantage of it.
Pick the Right Program. Your body adapts to each type of exercise differently whether it is increasing your endurance, strength, or flexibility. Often time’s people are trying to lose weight when they really need to change their body composition by building muscle through strength training. Running and cardio machines are not the answer to all fitness goals.
Have a Support System. Don’t trust yourself? Find a committed friend or family member who can help you stay motivated and hold you accountable. Another option would be to join a workout community or hire a personal trainer.
Track Your Progress. The little victories will keep you going. If you keep track your workouts and your diet, you are more likely to beat your workout records and avoid eating foods you told yourself you wouldn’t eat.
If every day you were to do a little better then yesterday, think of where you will be by 2017. Good luck Charlestown, and happy New Year!
Submit any questions you may have about reaching your fitness goals to [email protected].
By Tim Khanoyan, Dare U Fitness | Charlestown